PRINCETON, NJ - Disability rights activists from New Jersey's centers for independent living, Liberty Resources in Philadelphia and ADAPT of Philadelphia, and other disability organizations representing people with disabilities, will be holding a demonstration at Princeton University on May 27, 2016. Time: 1 pm to 3 pm.
Demonstrators will assemble in front of the Robertson Building, located on 20 Washington Street on the campus. The Robertson Building houses the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy and International Affairs.
Activists want Princeton University to end the ongoing practice of institutionalized discrimination against students with disabilities, especially those with "invisible" disabilities. Organizers also want Princeton to publicly denounce Princeton Professor Peter Singer, who advocates ending the lives of disabled infants through denial of health care. Activists want Princeton to take steps to address what the activists describe as a culture of disability and oppression at the campus.
"What I do need to know is that the future Einsteins and Woodrow Wilsons of tomorrow, those with disabilities like mine, have an opportunity to succeed at a place like this" said, Rachel Barr, a former graduate student at the Ivy League university. Ms. Barr, who has dyslexia and attention deficit disorder, was on full scholarship at Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs in 2014 when she says the university failed to make accommodations during exams. She recently ended a 20 day hunger strike to protest Princeton's disregard of the civil rights of students with disabilities.
Her hunger strike got nation-wide press coverage. See 6 ABC (Philadelphia) here: http://6abc.com/education/student-starts-hunger-strike-against-princeton-university/1333826/
On Peter Singer, a professor of bioethicist Princeton:
“We understand the importance of academic freedom,” said Alan Holdsworth of Liberty Resources, Inc. “But Princeton has a policy on ‘Respect for Others’ which ‘deplores expressions of hatred directed against any individual or group.’ If Singer’s comments about killing disabled babies don’t qualify as hatred toward a group, then I don’t know what does.”
Protesters are demanding that Princeton take these steps to end its practice of discrimination against students with disabilities.
- Be part of realizing the goals Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (which bars discrimination based on disability in programs that receive federal assistance) and the Americans with Disabilities Act by accommodating all students with disabilities, particularly those with "invisible" disabilities.
- Create scholarships for people with disabilities, and thus integrate the university and to correct the culture that has led to the disability and oppression on the campus.
- Follow the civil rights laws of our time and re-enroll Rachel Barr and give her the accommodations so she can continue to meet the academic requirements as she had for three years at Princeton.
- Publicly condemn the teachings of Prof. Singer.
- Hire faculty members with disabilities throughout your campus, including a bioethicist, culture and theory so that Peter Singer's theories on disability are not the only ones taught at Princeton.
- Institute a fair, open and transparent complaint process for all students, especially for students with disabilities.
- Create a department at Princeton that promotes the inclusion of all students and recognizes and celebrates diversity, including discrimination.